ACLU Comment on Federal Response to Portland Protests

July 17, 2020 8:00 am

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PORTLAND — According to reports overnight, federal authorities in Portland, OR, continued to fire tear gas at protesters and have been grabbing protesters off of streets in unmarked vehicles.

Below is comment from Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, on the unfolding situation in Portland, OR:

“What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States. Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping. The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.

“Under the direction of the Trump administration, militarized federal agents have flaunted court orders protecting the rights of protesters, used sharpshooters to deliberately maim people, and deployed indiscriminate weapons of war — including sonic weapons and dangerous tear gas formulations.

“The acting director of Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan, referred to Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland as ‘thugs.’ Protesters in Portland have been shot in the head, swept away in unmarked cars, and repeatedly tear gassed by uninvited and unwelcome federal agents. We won’t rest until they are gone.”

Portland Police Bureau and the Trump administration have responded to nightly protests in Portland over the police killing of George Floyd by indiscriminately using tear gas, rubber bullets, and acoustic weapons against protesters, journalists, and legal observers, even after the federal court enjoined such violent attacks in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon. Federal officers also shot a protester in the head Sunday with a rubber bullet fracturing the person’s face and skull.

The ACLU has filed multiple lawsuits across the country in response to unconstitutional law enforcement attacks on journalists and protesters, including suing President Trump and other administration officials for the firing of tear gas on protesters outside the White House on June 1.

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